A proper review session, some ownership on below par performances and the unbridled enthusiasm of two debutants arriving as replacements have not only bolstered the confidence again, but also the energy into the Blitzboks camp, as Noegh Hayward and Gurshwin Wehr joined with beaming faces and eager bodies.
For Blitzbok assistant coach Philip Snyman, that energy came just at the right time, as the team needed a final spark for the HSBC Canada Sevens at BC Place, having dissected their underwhelming performance in Los Angeles.
“Yes, Noegh and Gurshwin brought new energy despite the jet lag,” said Snyman.
“New players always want to what they are capable of and they both arrived full of smiles and enthusiasm. Seeing how much it meant to them to be here, made the remainder of the squad realise how privileged they are and that they have a responsibility to be at their very best the next time they play.”
Snyman said the reviews made grim reading with 50% of tackles missed and possession stakes under 40%.
“We just gave too many balls away to our opposition,” Snyman stated.
“I know the guys are good enough to bounce back, we are a team capable of playing and winning finals, we have shown that. It is true that the pool stages are so tough now and to get out of there is not easy, but we have no excuses not to.
“Yes, the new guys will need to slot in, but they have trained with us and that should not be a problem. The first game tomorrow against France will also be crucial, as we need to win that, to get back on track.”
For Hayward and Wehr, the excitement is real.
“It is all excitement, all joy,” said Hayward.
“I have been training with the team for six months now, so I am ready to go. I understand the system we are using and implementing, so if I stick to that, we should be okay. I always back myself and in this industry, you need to be ready all the time.”
Wehr said the long flight to Vancouver gave him more than enough time to take in the reality of his destination.
“I am very emotional yes, but why not – that badge is everything and to have that on my chest will be such an unbelievable feeling,” said Wehr.
“It started in Stellenbosch when we collected our kit and everything was ready, all the training gear and even my match jersey with my name and number on it. That made me realise where I am and what I have achieved. I feel so privileged.”
Wehr’s mission is clear: “I want to lift the mood in the squad and contribute. I know I have some magic and want to show that.”
Springbok Sevens squad for the HSBC Canada Sevens (with World Series stats):
Ryan Oosthuizen – 38 tournaments, 182 matches (185 points, 37 tries)
Impi Visser – 27 tournaments, 140 matches (125 points, 25 tries)
Zain Davids – 38 tournaments, 192 matches (170 points, 34 tries)
James Murphy – 14 tournaments, 63 matches (55 points, 11 tries)
Christie Grobbelaar – 13 tournaments, 65 matches (100 points, 20 tries)
Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) – 46 tournaments, 238 matches (700 points, 140 tries)
Noegh Hayward – uncapped
Ricardo Duarttee – 5 tournaments, 28 matches (114 points, 9 tries, 33 conversions, 1 penalty goal)
Ronald Brown – 10 tournaments, 52 matches (310 points, 30 tries, 80 conversions)
Gurshwin Wehr – uncapped
Shilton van Wyk – 10 tournaments, 56 matches (120 points, 24 tries)
Mfundo Ndhlovu – 12 tournaments, 54 matches (60 points, 12 tries)